Drivers have a 1 in 68 chance of being involved in an auto accident involving a deer every year in Iowa. That’s according to insurance company State Farm, which released an annual deer claim study ranking the risk of such accidents in every state.
Drivers in West Virginia run the greatest risk with a 1 in 41 chance. Iowa is in 4th place, just behind Pennsylvania.
The State Farm survey ranked November, during deer mating season, as the riskiest month for an accident, with October in 2nd place.
But Dale Wulfekuhle, manager at Ream Auto Body in Cedar Rapids, isn’t sure some eastern Iowa deer are getting that timing message. For him, it’s been a busy week for customers bringing in vehicles after a run-in.
“Well these were brought in... one on Friday and one on Tuesday and I have another vehicle just dropped off, so that’s three within a week,” Wulfekuhle said.
State Farm statistics show the average auto-deer repair bill nationwide is $3995.08. That’s down a little more than $100 from the average bill in 2015.
Wulfekuhle said some accidents cost a lot more to fix. He pointed out one newer car with an estimate almost double that amount.
Iowa shares one thing in common with other states that lead the list. That’s a large deer population.
Andrew Norton, a deer management specialist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said the state’s deer population probably peaked in 2006. He said the DNR doesn’t have an accurate total deer population due to widely varying methods of estimating populations and accounting for deer taken by
hunters and in accidents.
But Norton said the DNR believes the population is down at least 250,000 since the peak about ten years ago due to issuing more deer tags to hunters and loosening of some hunting restrictions. In 2013, the DNR decided the deer population had stabilized and the goal now is to maintain those numbers.
While October, November and December remain the most dangerous months of collisions with deer, one auto body estimator, Scott Kruger, says he’s seeing larger numbers of accidents at other times of the year, too.
“There doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by that you don’t write one or two deer hits, and I’m not really sure exactly why,” Kruger said.
We would like to thank KCRG-TV9 for reprint permission.